Barometers

Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains
Contains Mercury
Hazardous Waste Put in Garbage Cart/Bin

Mercury barometers – either broken or intact – are hazardous and should be disposed of through the County Household Hazardous Waste Program. 

The more common aneroid barometers – either broken or intact – go in the garbage. 

Mercury Barometers Are Hazardous Waste 

Never place mercury barometers in the garbage because the mercury they contain is a hazardous material. If a mercury barometer breaks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages you to instruct everyone to leave the area and do not let anyone walk through the mercury liquid and/or vapor on the way out. Open all windows and doors to the outside. Turn down the temperature. Shut all doors to other parts of the house and leave the area. Do not vacuum. Call your local health department as soon as possible. If it is after-hours, please call your local fire department. If you have questions about potential health effects, you can call your physician, or your local poison control center at (800) 222-1222. 

 If your barometer contains mercury, dispose of it as hazardous waste 

Aneroid vs. Mercury Barometers

Aneroid barometers are circular and have a pointer and dial face. These barometers do not typically contain any mercury, even though the unit of measure is inches or millimeters of mercury. For a mercury barometer, the reading is taken from the height of the mercury in a glass column, much like a thermometer.

Never Throw Away Mercury Barometers

Most antique barometers contain about 4 ounces of mercury that can be released into the environment if disposed of improperly. If your barometer contains mercury, dispose of it with hazardous waste.

Ways to Reuse

Repair Antique Barometers

If you have a broken antique barometer, have it repaired instead of throwing it away. Check out The Barometer Shop, a store specifically dedicated to repairing antique barometers.